To the Friend Who Walked Away

To the Friend Who Walked Away,

Hi. This letter is to you. Perhaps you would tell others we are “friends” and part of you might believe that, but in reality, we both know this is not the case. A while ago you walked away from this friendship. I’ve reflected, responded and prayed. I’m sure we see things differently because we are two different people, but in case you were wondering, here is how it ended for me.

At first I was so confused and hurt. You were my closest friend. The person whom I confided in. The one that I turned to in good and bad times. The one whom I was genuinely interested in hearing the response when I’d ask, “How are you?” I replayed the last few months in my head again and again, trying to figure out what I did that was so wrong. How did I offend you? What did I say? What did I do? What did I not do? Morning, noon and night, I thought about it. I never tried to justify anything; I was simply trying to figure out what I had done wrong so that I could correct it and make it up to you. I cared so deeply about you and would never mean for any pain.

Next, I felt anger. How could you do this to our friendship? How could you boast of being such a good friend and yet turn your back on me? How could you ignore my attempts to reach out to you? And most of all… still… why? I was angry, mixed with hurt. I had repeatedly blamed myself, but I could not come up with a reason for why. I’m a loyal friend who was always there for you and never judged you. Is this what you now call friendship?!?

Then I simmered down some. The pain never left. I guess with time, it eventually will. During this time, I realized that perhaps I had viewed our “friendship” as something more than what it was this whole time. I began to question if you ever truly felt I was your friend. Perhaps friendship is not something you deeply give much value to? I began to remember all of the things you told me about your other friends, and I recalled what others have often shared, “If someone is talking about someone else to you, chances are they also talk about you to someone else.” Maybe all these years you had gone to other people and told them all of that which you did not like inside of me? This is a concept that has always been hard for me to understand. For me, if I do not like someone’s character, then I simply do not pretend to be their friend. I can be respectful towards people and not fake a friendship. Authentic friendship. That’s what I thought we had. But I was wrong.

I became sad again and began to question what was wrong with me that this individual walked away from our friendship. Was I not wealthy enough? Was my family structure too different? Did my parenting decisions make a rift? Am I no longer fun to be around? Do my choices in my social life impact your willingness to invite me places anymore? Does our history mean nothing? So many questions raced through my head. So many questions that remained unanswered.

Time passed and as I repeatedly reached out to you, I could feel things were so very different. I expressed my concerns and shared my raw emotions. Yet still, only the superficial was emitted. This wasn’t the person I knew. This wasn’t the person I held in such high regard. This wasn’t the person I valued, no matter any flaws. This wasn’t the person I loved. This wasn’t the person whom I had been so loyal to. This wasn’t you. You were gone. Our friendship was gone. You walked away, without a word being said. Yet you walked away and took so much with you. With time, I will find peace. Eventually, I will develop a close friendship with another person. But I’ll never forget our friendship, I will always pray for the best for you and I’ll never fully comprehend why my friend walked away.

With love,

Your Loyal Friend Who Stayed

 

Ahmeli… that we treat our friends with a love and respect and clearly reflects honor upon the title “friend.”

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Doing Right is Wrong

Recently I have been dealing with a situation that has me overly frustrated. I cannot release the details out of respect for the involved parties, but I just want to scream! So I figured I’d type.

Since when has doing what is right been so wrong?!?! A few questions surrounding my situation, or those of people around me.

 

If you are helping someone who needs help navigating an unfamiliar system, why are you seen by the system as an enemy instead of a helpful supporter? Be grateful that someone is willing to help out because most people are too busy.

 

If you ask about services that are legally mandated and yet not being provided, why are you ignored as if you never asked the question? There are legal regulations for a reason, not as an option that you can pick and choose when you wish.

 

If your job is to provide services to another person, why do you get mad when someone asks you why the services are nonexistent? If you do not want to do your job, you can freely go get another one in this country. Let someone have the job who truly wants to provide the services.

 

If you are collecting data to find a solution, why do you withhold certain data that does not display the result you were desiring? The facts still remain, whether you hide them or not. Eventually, this will come to light.

 

If you feel strongly about supporting a cause, why does it appear to only matter within the context you seek? Justice should be equal for all people, not just those whom you favor.

 

If someone is simply asking for their rights to be granted, why do you create such a paperwork nightmare that leaves most people walking away? Paperwork should be to document and provide support, not to discourage people from their rights under the law.

 

If we shove people in a prison for crimes and provide no constructive growth opportunities, why would you expect change after their sentence is up? Real change must develop within and must be based on a genuine desire to change, not just because a program looks good on paperwork.

 

If a parent is honestly trying to raise their child in a manner that they feel is safe and loving, why do others feel they should criticize the parent? A village works when we support one another and kindly offer suggestions, not through bashing nor gossiping.

 

As a society, let’s come together and support one another as we stand up for what is right. Maybe then those who make us feel like what is right is so wrong, will be silenced and true growth can take place.

 

Ahmeli…that we would support those who are doing what is right so that our society can become a better place for everyone.

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Welcome to Martyrdom

A few times in my life, the concept of martyrdom has come up. I’ve read a few books on people who became martyrs, or close to it (including a book I reviewed here). I find these stories to be heartbreaking and I view the martyrs as being very brave. Yet, this concept evokes reflection inside my soul and stirs up interesting conversations with others who may have opposing views. This topic was once again brought to my attention this past week.

An individual was expressing her view on how wonderful it is to become a martyr. Now, I try to be open to differing viewpoints, and so I continued to allow her to express her views. Then she began to communicate that she expects the same from me since we are of the same faith, Christianity. My viewpoint tends to be a bit different than hers. Maybe it makes me “less” of a Christian than her? I don’t know. That’s up to God to decide, in my opinion; not another human. But this is how I feel about the topic.

If a person feels lead to share their faith in an environment where their life may be at risk, that is their choice. This is a brave decision and it is one that is very impactful on the individual’s life and the lives of those around him/her. I respect that decision. If I were to ever be in that situation, I do not know how I would respond. My gut tells me that I would probably confess I am a Christian and have full faith in the outcome – whether it be life or death. But then there’s another element….

What if your words and actions determine the life, or death, of those whom you love? Would you turn to your 8-year-old daughter and say, “Welcome to Martyrdom.” And then allow someone to kill her? Would you openly share your faith knowing that it will result in the death of your spouse? Some people might feel so strongly that God will carry them through any storm, that they would be willing to directly offer a loved one to become a martyr, but I could not possibly do that. For me, it is one thing to stand firm in my faith when death is staring at me. It is another thing to offer the life of a loved one, knowing that my confession would result in his/her death. Perhaps this makes me weak in faith? I do not know. Genuinely, I do not think that God would view it in that manner, but I may be wrong. I believe in a loving God and I do not think he would want me to offer my loved one as a martyr when it is not the only option. I feel like it is my duty to protect those whom I love. Can I protect them from everything? No. But I do not think that means one should open the door to martyrdom for others.

The conversation continued and the individual stated that martyrdom no longer happens in this generation. Okay, I know I have not traveled all around the world, but I do believe news reports of places around the world where you are killed due to your religious beliefs (along with other subgroups as well). I do not believe that this is a thing of the past. It is very real today. Perhaps because we are living in a “free” country – America – where freedom of speech is written in the law, people feel the same carries across the world, but this is not the case. People die every day due to their religious beliefs. Families are torn apart. Lives are destroyed. It is a very sad and dark reality for far too many people. And one that I pray I never have to experience, but does that make me not as “good” of a Christian? I do not believe so. What God has destined for one life, He does not have destined for another. After all, if all Christians were to actively go become martyrs, then none would be left to share their testimonies and lead others to the Gospel. So, no matter who judges me, nor what mean comments come my way throughout the years, I’m going to try and have peace with the belief that the door of martyrdom is not meant for everyone. Some people express their faith through shouting down the sidewalks and singing loudly for all to hear. Other people share their faith through living in a manner that makes a strong impression on the lives of those who are quietly observing them. When the days end, I will be responsible for my decisions and those will be judged by only One.

 

Ahmeli… that we never stop praying for those who became martyrs and their loved ones.

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